Columbus -- Ohio’s most populous and capital city – sees temperatures plunge as low as 21 degrees Fahrenheit in winter, but this bustling hub with its surrounding state parks offers opportunities to both embrace and escape its snowy days.
Center of Science and Industry
Columbus’ Center of Science and Industry (COSI) has welcomed more than 30 million visitors since its 1964 inception. The renowned institution partners with the likes of Ohio State University and the Columbus Historical Society, provides outreach programs and has more than 300 interactive exhibitions areas such as "Ocean," "Space" and "Big Science Park." Additional entertainment includes the Electrostatic Generator Show, a seven-story Extreme Screen theater and the United States' only high-wire unicycle act.
Columbus’ NHL hockey team, the Blue Jackets, call the Nationwide Arena home. Bookings can be made for premier seating; otherwise, brave the chills and line at the ticket window to secure tickets for as little as 10 dollars. If you''re feeling inspired to take to the ice, the Chiller is central Ohio's only international-sized rink and is open to the public. For a more scenic skate, there are the frozen waterways of Batelle Darby, a 7,000-acre park home to bison.
The imposing statehouse rests on a 10-acre stretch of land and was constructed in the mid-19th century. Inspired by architecture of Ancient Greece, it was built by prisoners of the state’s penitentiary using local limestone. Because of its esteemed heritage and continuation as Ohio’s premier public building, the statehouse has been designated a National Historic Landmark.
Head on down to the Columbus Convention Center to drink away those winter blues at the city’s Beerfest, a biannual two-day event that offers 160 brews -- with all local ones included. It is a 21-and-older-only event. The on-site Hyatt Regency offers discounted rooms during Beerfest.
Ride a Sled
Highbanks Park has 1,160 acres of recreational ground, including a 100-foot-high shale bluff that rises above the Olentangy State Scenic River. Come wintertime, the area's many snowy slopes become perfect sledding spots, with the one at the Big Meadows Picnic area famed for its steep decline.
Go Ice Fishing
The summer destination of Buckeye Lake, with an average depth of 6 feet, is one of the most shallow in Ohio. This means winter temperatures freeze it fast. The man-made waterway offers relatively safe ice fishing as long as visitors stay on ice at least 4 inches thick. Everyone between the ages of 16 and 65 must carry a valid fishing license as required by state law.
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